Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition

At this time of the year there is a plethora of ‘photographer of the year’ awards, just stick your preferred subject area in front. Now it is the turn of astronomical photographers.

Hot on the heels of the mesmerizing images of Visions of the Universe at the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory presents its annual display of the captivating winning entries from the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.

From all over the world entrants have captured ethereal images of the sky viewed from Earth, out to swirling nebulae in deep space. See these incredible images close-up and free, and take inspiration for your own photography and star-gazing.

Dates: 19 September 2013–23 February 2014

Location: Small Exhibitions Gallery, Royal Observatory (see floor plans)

Opening times: 10.00–17.00 daily

From 2 October, new planetarium show Captured Starlight will showcase the winning images from this year’s competition.

ES62_GuidingLightToTheStars_MGee640

Guiding Light to the Stars by Mark Gee (Australia)
8 June 2013

What the photographer says:
‘I recently spent a night out at Cape Palliser on the North Island of New Zealand, photographing the night sky. I woke after a few hours’ sleep at 5 a.m. to see the Milky Way low in the sky above the Cape. The only problem was that my camera gear was at the top of the lighthouse, seen to the right of this image, so I had to climb the 250-plus steps to retrieve it before I could take this photo…

‘By the time I got back the sky was beginning to get lighter with sunrise only two hours away. It looked surreal but amazing as the twilight started to creep into the night sky. I took a wide panorama made up of 20 individual images to get this shot. Stitching the images together was a challenge but the result was worth it!’

Canon 5D Mark III camera; 24mm f/2.8 lens; ISO 3200; 30-second exposure

What it shows:
This is a spectacular view of the Milky Way arching over the coast of the North Island of New Zealand. The brightest light in the image is from the Cape Palliser Lighthouse. The central patch of light in the sky marks the bulge of stars at the heart of our Galaxy, 26,000 light years away. To the left, the two Magellanic Clouds, small satellite galaxies much further away, appear as faint smudges in the sky.

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Celestial Impasto: sh2–239 by Adam Block (USA)
10 November 2011

What the photographer says:
‘This is “impasto” on a celestial scale! Imagine the brush that could express the delicate wisps of dust and the opaque, cold, dark heart of this molecular cloud. Like a painter whose strokes leave behind a sense of motion and depth during the creation of an artwork, the star formation here seems to proceed quickly, as revealed by the rapid evaporation in the foreground. Soon even the deepest part of this cloud will yield to unstoppable forces and, as the dust is blown away, a young cluster of stars will shine.’

Schulman 0.8m telescope; EQ mount; STX (SBIG) 16803 camera; 15-hours total exposure

What it shows:
Structures like this often seem unchanging and timeless on the scale of a human lifetime. However, they are fleeting and transient on astronomical timescales. Over just a few thousand years the fierce radiation from the stars in this nebula will erode the surrounding clouds of dust and gas, radically altering its appearance.

Take home the best of Astronomy Photographer of the Year
Astronomy Photographer of the Year book coverThe Royal Observatory has partnered with Collins to produce a beautiful hardback book featuring all the winning and shortlisted images from the 2013 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition.

Order yours now from our shop. Royal Museums Greenwich Members receive 10% off items in all our shops.

APYBook2013[500]

Y38_TheMilkyWayGalaxy_JMarchio640

The Milky Way Galaxy by Jacob Marchio (USA), aged 14
15 July 2012

What the photographer says:
‘I chose this photo because of the detail in the galaxy and dust lanes.’

Nikon D3100 camera; 18mm f/3.5 lens; ISO 3200; 288-second exposure

What it shows:
Here, the cumulative glow of tens of billions of stars paint a familiar streak of light across the sky. The photographer has focused on one of the most spectacular vistas looking towards the very centre of the Milky Way. Dark lanes of interstellar dust and gas are seen in silhouette against the brilliance of the galaxy’s dense bulge. Countless clusters and star nurseries are also sprinkled across the scene.

If you would like to see more go here

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